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Best hotels in Inverness for castles and countryside views

Many of Inverness’ hotels provide excellent views of the city (Getty Images)
Many of Inverness’ hotels provide excellent views of the city (Getty Images)

For a small Scottish city, Inverness sure packs a punch. Primarily, it attracts monster hunters on their way to Loch Ness – especially now there’s a 360-degree, linked hiking and cycling trail that allows adventurers to circle the entirety of Nessie’s home.

However, more recently, Inverness has developed an urban swagger, helped by the insanely brilliant (and ridiculously popular) North Coast 500. This road trip starts and ends in the city, taking in spectacular wildlife, mesmerising landscapes and the imposing Dunrobin Castle over the course of 516 miles.

Of course, the Highlands’s capital oozes with museums, art and historic sites aplenty too, including a Victorian-era marketplace and a jaw-dropping cathedral sitting on the banks of the River Ness.

The city is also awash with creative chefs and only-in-the-Highlands bars. And then there are the must-visit craggy castles and nostril-tingling distilleries.

To help you get to grips with such Scottish spirit, here’s our pick of the most fabulous hotels to call your Highland home.

The best hotels in Inverness are:

Rocpool Reserve Hotel & Restaurant

Neighbourhood: South of city centre

 (Rocpool Reserve Hotel & Restaurant)
(Rocpool Reserve Hotel & Restaurant)

Refined, chic, sophisticated, decadent, hip, ferociously good… throw any labels at this luxury city-centre hotel and you’ll still come up short. Arguably the swishest place in town, it comes flooded with River Ness panoramas, individually designed bedrooms and plenty of sunken baths, hot tubs, private balconies and mini saunas.

The building itself is a renovated Georgian townhouse, and the interior colour scheme smacks of a Thornton’s chocolate box, all red and gold with swishes of hazelnut and vanilla. And with refurbishment happening until April 2024, this sophisticated spot will be even more slick come spring.

The Glenmoriston Townhouse Hotel

Neighbourhood: Ness Bank

 (The Glenmoriston Townhouse Hotel)
(The Glenmoriston Townhouse Hotel)

This centrally located luxury boutique has 30 bedrooms – all awash with tartan bedspreads and a treat of shortbread biscuits for bedtime – plus three apartments. Then there’s the restaurant and one whisky and piano bar, which is stocked with more than 260 malt whiskies and 50-odd gins. All that adds up to a convivial scene overlooking one of the prettiest stretches of the River Ness.

Before strolling to nearby Eden Court Theatre, loosen your belt for one of the best dinners in the city at the hotel’s Contrast Brasserie – the menu brims with venison tartare, pan-seared scallops and braised pork.

Read more on Scotland travel:

Culloden House Hotel

Neighbourhood: East Inverness

Bonnie Prince Charming stayed at Culloden House Hotel (Culloden House Hotel)
Bonnie Prince Charming stayed at Culloden House Hotel (Culloden House Hotel)

This converted, 18th-century Palladian manor is now the most atmospheric country hotel in Inverness. It was slept in by Bonnie Prince Charlie himself while he campaigned to overthrow English rule, and he used it as his battle HQ prior to defeat at nearby Culloden Moor.

Today, the drawing room, library bar and 40 acres of grounds draw in Outlander fans on set-hopping Highland tours, while the chandelier ceilings, Royal Stuart tartan drapes and marbled fireplaces whisk you back to the Jacobite era.

Pentahotel Inverness

Neighbourhood: City centre

 (Pentahotel Inverness)
(Pentahotel Inverness)

The funky brainchild of the globetrotting Rosewood Hotel Group, this living room concept hotel is designed in the spirit of “living like a local” – slouch with a book on the comfy sofas, play computer games, or grab a drink from the 24-hour bar. Decor is straight from the world of click-bait furniture – all crumpet sofas, industrial bar stools and novelty units – but it adds to the hipster, here-and-now vibe of the place.

Location-wise, it can’t be beaten, only yards from Inverness train station, and the 90 box-size budget rooms come with free pay TV. It’s aimed at a younger crowd and the staff are equally fresh-faced.

Glen Mohr Hotel

Neighbourhood: Ness Bank

Glen Mohr Hotel has that Highlands must-have: a whisky bar (Glen Mhor Hotel)
Glen Mohr Hotel has that Highlands must-have: a whisky bar (Glen Mhor Hotel)

With 100 years of history, this collection of period townhouses sounds worthy, but it’s a wonder – there are 110 bedrooms divided across 10 Victorian buildings, 10 apartments and one river house.

As well as the huge variety of functional, if basic, rooms (the deluxe river view rooms are the pick of the bunch), the perks are the lovely river location and multi-lingual staff.

Kingsmills Hotel

Neighbourhood: East Inverness

 (Kingsmills Hotel)
(Kingsmills Hotel)

What was built as a private home in 1786 is now a sprawling central hotel with indoor pool, spa facilities, bells-and-whistles gym and four acres of grounds besides Inverness Golf Club.

Much of the action happens at the two restaurants and whisky bar – there’s Inglis Restaurant for traditional set menus, and the light-flooded Conservatory Restaurant for Sunday roasts, Speyside steaks or cod and potted shrimp.

Rooms vary from garden, family and patio pads to more elegant affairs, hinting at late 18th-century design. Cue: heather-pink palettes and, you guessed it, tartan armchairs.

Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa

Neighbourhood: City centre

Best Western Palace Hotel boasts both castle and river views (Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa)
Best Western Palace Hotel boasts both castle and river views (Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa)

Castle and river views, predictable-yet-pleasing rooms, family-friendly restaurants and no-taxi-needed distance to Inverness’s best entertainment and shopping, make it easy to see why this Best Western outpost is so popular.

Period rooms are no-frills, but some have been upgraded with bright Dulux colour schemes and broad windows. Want a window-wide-open peek at Inverness Castle across the river? Make sure to request a room with a view when booking.

Mercure Inverness Hotel

Neighbourhood: City centre

 (Mercure)
(Mercure)

Outside, the facade of this chain hotel has all the glamour of a multi-storey car park – but looks can be deceiving, as, inside, it bristles with Highland charm and personality. Think wall-mounted kilts and sleek furniture in the lobby, banquette booths, funky wallpaper and banana-coloured sofas in the restaurant and bar.

The spacious rooms are bright and zesty, and the fitted wardrobes and feature walls highlight vivid Highland landscapes and celebrated characters from Scottish history. Views from the river-facing rooms are among the city’s best.

Drumdevan Country House

Neighbourhood: South Inverness

 (Drumdevan Country House)
(Drumdevan Country House)

A distinctively different stay beckons at this palatial retreat dating back to 1790 and overlooking formal gardens two miles south of the city. A romantic Georgian house – protected by Historic Scotland down to the last tree – it features four-poster, queen-sized and garden rooms, where breakfast is exclusively served in bed. As well as airy rooms, there are garden views and Netflix is complimentary.

In keeping with such quirks, Drumdevan was, in fact, the first property in Scotland to be placed on the Ordnance Survey map. Who knew?

Heathmount Hotel

Neighbourhood: City centre

 (Heathmount Hotel)
(Heathmount Hotel)

Eight rooms in a rainbow of soft colours, a lively restaurant, two bars (one cocktail-themed, the other showing sports) and family-friendly service at every encounter – the slick Heathmount taps into all that’s refreshing about Inverness.

There are plenty of nice touches in the loft rooms and doubles (DVD players, free Sky, iPod docs), and the place fizzes with locals on weekends, particularly on the heated terrace with open fire pit. Best not expect an early night.

Read more of our hotel reviews: